About WPFC 2020

The World Press Freedom Conference 2020 (WPFC) uniquely gathers journalists, media companies, human rights defenders, members of the judiciary, policymakers, academics, youth, NGOs and everyone who is interested in press freedom worldwide. Take a look at the programme overview and the speakers, and register now for WPFC!

Dutch Foreign Minister Stef Blok
©Arenda Oomen
Dutch Foreign Minister Stef Blok

“A free press is essential for a functioning democracy and a free society” - Stef Blok, Minister of Foreign Affairs

Now is the time to stand up for free and independent media and protect journalism from new and existing forms of control. With the independence and freedom of the media under attack in so many countries, this is now more relevant than ever. Read more on the UNESCO website.

Global digital format

WPFC 2020 will be held in a new, innovative format: merging digital and in-person elements. UNESCO and The Kingdom of the Netherlands are the organizers of the conference. Dates are 9-10 December 2020. Many of the sessions will take place in the World Forum in The Hague, although with limited access for the public and the press. Registration is open now.

Books in library on shelves

Academic Conference on Safety of Journalists

Attacks against journalists occur all over the world, significantly hampering freedom of expression and press freedom. Only when journalists can report safely, without fear of retaliation for critical reporting or other threats to their safety, press freedom can be achieved.

Research-based knowledge

Contributions from different sectors of society are crucial to move towards this goal.  Such as the input from academics, as there is a need for research-based knowledge to support joint efforts to protect journalism. That is why the 5th Academic Conference on Safety of Journalists will be held during WPFC 2020.

Theme: Safety of Journalists 

Academics from across the globe will present their work on the safety of journalists and, through an interactive, online platform, share it with fellow academics, journalists, policy-makers, legal specialists and other relevant groups. The theme of the event is ‘Safety of Journalists - Press Freedom and Media Capture’ and will take place on 9 December. 

T.M.C. Asser Institute building
©Asser Institute
T.M.C. Asser Institute, The Hague

Forum of Legal Actors at WPFC 2020

The Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs, UNESCO, the Asser Institute and Free Press Unlimited (FPU) will launch a Forum of Legal Actors on Freedom of Expression and Safety of Journalists on the 9th of December during WPFC 2020. The goal of the Forum is to strengthen the role of legal actors in the defence of the universal right to freedom of expression drawing on global, regional and national experiences.

Sharing experience and best practices

On this occasion, a group of expert participants (including judges, prosecutors and lawyers) from all over the world will share their experience and best practices in the justice field. The Forum will facilitate the dissemination of knowledge regarding international norms governing freedom of expression, leading standards in comparative law, as well as the interpretation of such legal provisions in the dynamic and increasingly pervasive digital dimensions of this right.

Session information

The two closed sessions on the 9th of December will be organised under Chatham House Rule and participants can only attend upon invitation. During the open UNESCO session on the 'Strengthening investigations and prosecutions to end impunity for crimes against journalists' on the 10th of December, a summary of the main findings of the two closed sessions will be presented.